ANTIOCH (CBS SF) — A suspected shoplifter at an Antioch Lucky supermarket who died after a violent confrontation with a store worker had “underlying issues of drug use” which contributed to his death, according to police.
The suspect was identified as 34-year-old Michael Hamilton of Antioch. Hamilton was confronted by an unidentified 56-year-old Lucky employee on Wednesday night after allegedly trying to steal meat from the butcher area of the store.
A struggle followed which ended with Hamilton dying at the scene and the worker being taken to the hospital with head and neck injuries.
Witnesses described Hamilton being restrained by the worker with either a headlock or a chokehold but police did not confirm those accounts. On Thursday, Antioch police said in a press release that an autopsy revealed no trauma to Hamilton’s neck, indicating there was use of a chokehold, carotid or any other pressure applied to his neck.
“Mr. Hamilton died from underlying issues of drug use and the excitement of the struggle he was involved in during this incident,” police said in the statement.
A preliminary drug screening showed Hamilton had methamphetamine in his system, but the amount wouldn’t be known until a full toxicology report could be completed.
The Lucky worker was treated and released from the hospital on the same night. Police did not indicate whether he would be facing any criminal charges.
Lucky has a store policy that prevents workers from engaging with shoplifters. Two years ago, Lucky fired an Oakland Montclair store clerk for stopping a shoplifter. A Lucky spokeswoman did not respond back when asked about the worker’s job status.